April–June 2009 (Vol. 16, No. 2) pp. 1
1070-986X/09/$31.00 © 2009 IEEE
Published by the IEEE Computer Society
Published by the IEEE Computer Society
|Animation Demystifies Complex Science|
|Share Your PC|
|Free Real-Time 3D Tools|
|Multiscreen Presentation Software|
|Online Photo Display|
PDFs Require Adobe Acrobat
This article features some of the latest advances in multimedia technology.
Animation Demystifies Complex Science
Life science animators from Purdue Research Park-based Seyet are using video to demonstrate complex scientific and technological discoveries, providing a visual story of how complicated organisms or human-designed technologies operate. By translating difficult-to-grasp scientific concepts and processes into animated forms, Seyet aims to help the nonscientific public understand new discoveries.
For example, one video animation demonstrates how silicon nanowires can nucleate, or begin to form on the way to becoming wires. This video presents the work of Eric Stach, a Purdue University assistant professor of materials engineering, using a transmission electron microscope. The research that created this video animation was done at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center and at Purdue's Birck Nanotechnology Center. Reportedly, this is the first time researchers have made such precise measurements of the nucleation process in nanowires.
In addition to creating this video, Seyet developed a Bacteriophage T4 animation for Michael Rossmann, the Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences in Purdue's College of Science. This animation shows the virus as it penetrates the cell membrane of the E. coli bacterium, which the virus infects.
Share Your PC
Userful Multiplier Linux-based software enables a single computer to support multiple users simultaneously. By connecting an extra monitor, USB keyboard, and mouse to a standard computer, this software makes it possible for two users to work on the same PC.
The software can create up to 10 independent workstations from a single standard PC. According to the company, attaching 10 monitors, mice, and keyboards to a single computer can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 15 tons per year, and also can help reduce electronic waste by up to 80 percent. Userful recently stated that in the past year its software saved over 29,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of taking 5,000 cars off the road.
For more information visit http://www.userful.com.
Free Real-Time 3D Tools
Craft Animations announced free light versions of its Director Tools: 4-Wheeler, ObserverCam, and Airplane. Each of these tools is based on research in advanced control systems with the ultimate goal being to reduce traditional animation processes, eliminate the burden of keyframing and scripting, and still maintain quality.
Craft 4-Wheeler Free is capable of modifying acceleration, top speed, steering angle, brake force, suspension, and weight for animating four-wheeled vehicle models.
Craft ObserverCam Free provides users with the ability to move the viewpoint camera in all directions to facilitate the animation process through standard configurations and the help of input devices.
Craft Airplane Free lets users rig and animate airplane models using parameters such as weight, top speed, elevation speed, and turn speed.
For more information visit http://www.craftanimations.com.
Multiscreen Presentation Software
TeamViewer V4 presentation software lets up to 10 viewers join live online presentations. With this browser-based, cross-platform tool, users can host interactive presentations. The desktop-sharing suite offered with TeamViewer V4 connects users via the Internet after participants enter a presenter ID and password to participate. Once connected, the presenter retains full control over what the audience sees. A single document can be selected for sharing, and the pause feature allows the presenter to search additional documents on his or her computer without alerting the viewer.
In addition, a whiteboard is available to draw attention to certain points with additional detail. Presenters can animate their drawings with shapes and lines, create speech bubbles, or highlight text via the whiteboard. These customized slides can then be saved and emailed to viewers as a reference to the information presented.
Viewers can participate in the presentation through several interactive features. For example, a chat room can be opened next to the presentation slide, allowing viewers to ask questions or make comments. In addition, a blue viewer-controlled cursor can be used to highlight a specific point or indicate an area of interest.
TeamViewer V4 runs on Windows and can operate from behind firewalls. The software is available at http://www.teamviewer.com. All TeamViewer V4 business licenses are purchased with a single one-time payment. Up to 10 multiscreen viewers are possible with the premium license, up to five viewers are possible with the business license, and up to two viewers are possible with the noncommercial option.
Online Photo Display
VicMan Software has launched its free Photo! 3D Presentation Platform for displaying photos on the Internet in a 3D environment. The platform uses a technology, based on realistic 3D visualization, that lets users create photo presentations online. The goal of the presentation platform is for users to be able to put an embed code on any homepage, forum, blog, or social network site to present a Web-ready 3D presentation through visitors' browsers.
The technology enables presentation of photos on the walls of virtual exhibition halls or on various virtual objects. The tool, which uses Adobe Shockwave, generates HTML code that specifies all album settings, such as album design and image URLs, background color, start mode, and album size. The resources necessary to create a presentation are hosted on the company's server, with the required parameters transmitted through an embed code. For those who need to host their own pictures, the company offers free image hosting.
Additionally, Windows users can download Photo! 3D Album software for free to create 3D expositions with photos stored on their computer.
For more information visit http://pho.to.
Deutsch Technologies Photowriter lets users integrate photorealistic image fonts with variable text for placement into images. For example, users can personalize their images by adding photorealistic words in the sky or a cloud.
The free version is available for download at http://www.photowriter.org. The full (pay) version features more font types than the free version and allows images to be saved either in a format optimized for email and the Internet or in a high-quality print format. Plus, the full version gives users more control over motif and font creation. A junior version designed for younger users is also available.